Do-it-yourself: Top tips for DIY wedding planning

Planning a DIY wedding can be a great way to create a day that’s truly yours – personalised to you in every way! But planning a DIY wedding can be a lot of extra work – so it pays to consider a few things in advance.

Firstly, decide on the level of DIY you’re after. Are you keen to have a completely DIY wedding, from food to dress to decorations? Or will your venue sort food and drink and you’re just going to make your own decorations? Some things are really easy to DIY, while others are best left to the professionals, so think about what you and your family or friends are able to do easily and consider bringing in the experts for everything else.

Secondly, think about the cost of DIY. It can be an awesome way to save money, but only if you don’t go over the top. Consider the things that are most important to you and put your budget towards those. If you’re desperate to create DIY favours, go for it! But if you couldn’t care less about favours, then put your time, efforts, and dollars into what matters.

So once you know what you’ll be DIYing, how can you do it as easily and cost effectively as possible? Check out our top tips from real DIY weddings below:

  • Start early: For my wedding, I wanted to use jars as vases and for fairy lights. By starting to collect them over a year out, I had plenty saved up by the wedding and didn’t have to stress about them at the end. Likewise, if you’re making decorations or favours, these are really easy to do while you watch TV or listen to a podcast – so you could easily incorporate it into your everyday life months out!
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  • Source from others: Just because you’re going DIY doesn’t mean you need to make everything yourself! Join wedding buy/sell groups on Facebook and see what you can source from others – for example, after the wedding season ends, lots of people sell their glasses so you can get them for a bargain for your wedding the following year.
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  • Utilise free tools: There are some awesome free design tools out there, such as Canva, which has some cool templates for invitations and can be used to design everything from signage to menus. By utilising free templates, you can save on costs and just put your budget towards the printing.
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  • Use your village: They say that it takes a village – and that’s particularly true when it comes to weddings! Ask your close friends and family to pitch in where they can – whether it’s bringing a plate for the dessert table or helping set up decorations beforehand. Most people are happy to help out – just don’t forget to thank them effusively afterwards!
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  • Set up in advance: Your wedding day will be hectic enough without needing to decorate, so try to find a venue where you can set everything up the night before, or ask people to do it for you if you can’t get in a day earlier. Be sure to assign everyone jobs for the day in advance though – make sure everyone knows exactly what they need to do and choose one person to be the coordinator on the day to make sure that everyone else is doing what they’re meant to be doing.
  • Sell what you’ve made afterwards: Weddings are expensive, so why not make a little back afterwards? Use those buy/sell groups to sell your decorations, glassware, or anything else you’ve bought or made afterwards and get a little bit back for the honeymoon (you know, to add to the contributions your guests have made through Honeypot…)

A DIY wedding can be amazingly fun and really personal, but it’s totally up to you how far you go with it. Whatever level of DIY you’re doing, be sure to plan early, source what you can from others, and don’t try to do it all yourself. Most importantly, whatever happens – enjoy yourself!

Honeypot Heroes: Gabby and Patrick’s European honeymoon

Introducing our Honeypot Heroes: real-life couples who have used Honeypot as their wedding registry. Each month we’ll feature one couple who’ll share how they used it – and hopefully give you some inspiration for your own! Our next awesome couple? Gabby & Patrick

We used Honeypot last April when we got married and our registry was full of the exciting things we were planning on doing in Europe over Christmas and New Year.

One of the biggest highlights of our honeymoon was London. Because we were staying with friends, we got to experience a bit more of the real London, not just the tourist London, such as going to the Broadway markets, where we ate haggis toasties (they’re much nicer than you’d imagine!). Of the touristy bits, Tower of London was a massive highlight as well, especially for Patrick. We put one of the London Passes on our Honeypot, and that helped us get into attractions like the Tower.

Going to see The Lion King (gifted to us by a generous guest!) was fantastic, and Harry Potter World, which was gifted to us by another guest, was also amazing – it made me a very happy Hufflepuff!

After London we went on Contiki, but instead of just asking towards that one big expense on our Honeypot, we separated it out into each experience we wanted to have, such as visiting Neuschwanstein Castle (the castle that inspired Walt Disney!).

I loved Berlin – we went on the most amazing guided tour. Our tour guide’s grandparents left Germany and moved to America because they were Jewish, so he had this real personal connection to it as he was showing us around.

Other highlights were Rome – where I got to see all the monuments I’d studied in classics at school, and Lucerne in Switzerland, which is so beautiful.

Vienna was a favourite for both of us – it had an awesome mix of cool things to do (including the best Natural History Museum we’ve been to) and the best winter markets we came across. They had everything, from ice skating to mulled wine to Christmas jumpers that we didn’t come across elsewhere.

Taking a belated honeymoon was great, but I’m also very glad that we took a few days straight after the wedding to go up to Russell. Through Honeypot, my aunty gave us a couple of nights at the Duke of Marlborough, and it was really nice to have the minimoon before the honeymoon as well.

With Honeypot, I like the comments you get when people have contributed – being able to look back on that was really cool. I liked that it’s still personal and when we were going around taking photos we were able to thank individual people for that experience. We also got that feedback from our guests – we had a lot of people who weren’t comfortable just giving us cash, so they liked being able to give us a specific gift (but not for our house, which I didn’t want!)

Keen for your guests to help you turn your dream honeymoon into a reality? Create your registry now.

Honeypot Heroes: How Maiko & Jono used their registry

Introducing our Honeypot Heroes: real-life couples who have used Honeypot as their wedding registry. Each month we’ll feature one couple who’ll share how they used it – and hopefully give you some inspiration for your own! First up – Maiko & Jono.

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My now-husband (eep! That doesn’t get old to say) and I used Honeypot Registry for our wedding in March this year. It was so easy to use and so fun to set up! We used it for both our honeymoon and two special items for the house; a BBQ and a new reading chair. The BBQ we now have is amazing and those who donated to giving us that were the first to be invited around for smoked meats.

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Our honeymoon was this June and we went to the East Coast in the US. We had set our Honeypot up showing the four cities we were planning on visiting. We went to Boston, New York, New Orleans, and Orlando and had set up the Honeypot as one box for tourist activities, one for food (because we love our food), and two fun left-wing activities that were very fun to Google and plan. I loved getting to read the messages that people left when they donated to our honeymoon. They were always so lovely and helped make us more excited about the trip!

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We can fully recommend anything with lobster (lab-stah) in Boston (all the local craft beers didn’t disappoint either!) and also recommend following your feet in New York because you’ll find the best places to see (and eat at).

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Then, the biggest and bestest highlight was the swamp tour we did in New Orleans. We saw ‘gators, wild boar, and snakes, and had the most enthusiastic captain who liked to feed the ‘gators as close to the boat edge as possible (they’ve got a lot of teeth). We ended our honeymoon in Orlando so we could go to Harry Potter World and walk the streets of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley #hufflepuffsforlife.

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Without Honeypot, and our incredibly generous guests, this wouldn’t have been as nearly as fantastic experience! I would recommend Honeypot to anyone.

Keen to feature as our next Honeypot Heroes? Get in touch.

Beyond Fiji: Alternative honeymoon destinations we love

When we think of honeymoon travel, there are some perennial destinations that spring to mind. For years, couples have headed for the romance of Paris, the blue waters of Fiji, or the relaxation of Bali. There’s a reason these spots have remained favourites, but there are some up-and-coming contenders to consider!

Whether you want to avoid crowds, head off the beaten track, or stretch your budget a little further, here are our recommendations for alternate destinations:

Prague winter morning

Looking for European romance

If you’re wanting to skip the touristy spots in Paris or Venice, how about a visit to romantic Prague? Also known as the city of 100 spires, this town is chock-full of beautiful churches, castles, and towers. Prague has a very colourful history which is best covered by one of the many walking tours around the city. While Prague is steadily increasing in popularity, bargain accommodation can still be found, not to mention some of the best beer in the world for only a few euros a pint!

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Looking for Pacific paradise

While Fiji has plenty of luxurious high-end resorts, these can be on the pricier side. For an alternative destination, our pick would be Samoa. With mostly traditional fale accommodation, it’s managed to retain a relaxed, village vibe. There’s plenty to keep you busy on the main island of Apia, with water-sports, snorkelling and rainforest hikes. Or head to Savai’i where you can find crystal clear beaches virtually devoid of people. Hmmm. Anyone else thinking of booking a trip right now?!

HALONG bay in vietnam. UNESCO World Heritage Site. This view from TiTop island and its most popular view for travel in Halong bay.

Looking for South-East Asian serenity

We loved Bali during our own honeymoon (check out that story here). Next time we’re in South-East Asia though, I’m hoping to see Vietnam. This country has a great mix of beautiful coastline, majestic temples, and fascinating French influence. And by all accounts, the food is to die for! History buffs must visit Ho Chi Minh City, home to over 190km of underground passages used by the Viet Cong soldiers.

Looking for something else?

We’re constantly suffering from travel-envy, seeing all the incredible trips planned by Honeypotters.  Keep an eye out for some real honeymoon stories, coming up soon on our blog. And please get in touch if you’d like to be featured!

If you’re wondering how you’re going to afford your dream destination, click here to see how your guests can contribute to your honeymoon and beyond through Honeypot.

5 reasons to use a honeymoon registry instead of a travel agent

These days many couples are asking for honeymoon contributions rather than household gifts as wedding presents. A honeymoon registry is a wonderful way for guests to contribute to something meaningful while still being a practical gift (that you actually want!)

When Shane & I (Katie, one of the co-founders of Honeypot) got engaged, we considered using a travel agency for our wedding registry. However, I quickly realised that I prefer arranging travel myself. In fact, I enjoyed organising our honeymoon more than our wedding! I wanted a way to ask for contributions towards travel, without the restrictions of using an agency. This was the start of our journey to create Honeypot! Previously, we’ve compared Honeypot to wishing wells so here are some reasons we rate a honeymoon registry over travel registries.

1. Flexibility in booking

For our honeymoon, we wanted to stay in a variety of accommodations – from a boutique hotel in Niseko, to a very basic AirBnB in Toyko, to a traditional ryokan in Mt Fuji. When we’ve used travel agents in the past, I’ve found the options can be somewhat limited, and often restricted to hotels. If you’re like me, you’ll want the flexibility to book wherever and whenever, and the ability to make use of deals available from different providers.

2. Spend your contributions how you like

A friend of ours used a popular New Zealand travel agency for their wedding registry, unfortunately before Honeypot existed! They said the biggest downside was being forced to spend more on their honeymoon accommodation than planned. While it’s lovely that their guests were so generous, they discovered the agency would only allow them to spend their contributions through direct bookings. This meant they were limited to either airfares or accommodation, rather than spending money for the trip.

3. Get the contributions in your pocket

The other downside of using an agency is that they hold all the funds on your behalf. Some agencies will even forfeit any remaining funds if not used within a certain period. This is often buried in the terms and conditions and we think it’s totally unfair. With Honeypot, your contributions are transferred directly to your bank account every fortnight. If you end up with more than expected – no worries! You can decide whether to put the extra into savings, upgrade your honeymoon plans, or even use it to pay off wedding expenses.

4. Guests get a more personal gifting experience

What sets Honeypot apart from other registries is the ability to customise your registry by adding individual gift items. We always get feedback from guests that they love contributing to a specific gift, rather than just adding some more cash to a fund or wishing well. When our own friends used Honeypot, we contributed to their accommodation in Florence, a city we loved visiting ourselves. It meant a lot more to know that we could help them enjoy one of our favourite places, rather than just adding to a generic travel fund. To read more, check out our blogs on about personalising your registry or using Honeypot to tell your story.

5. Personal customer service from your registry provider

There’s a great scene in The Office, where Jim & Dwight show how they can compete with the ‘big boys’ (in this case, large national paper companies) by offering great customer service. This is exactly the level of service we want to provide at Honeypot. If you ever have a question or need some advice, our team are just a phone call, email, or Facebook message away. We often respond outside of business hours, and because Honeypot is our baby, we take every customer very seriously – as you can see from some of the feedback we received below.

“[Honeypot] was a great way to ask for money without feeling funny about it, and we had lots of great feedback from our guests about how much they enjoyed looking at our honeymoon plans and deciding what to give us! I found it really easy (and fun) to set up, and when I had a few initial issues your communication was excellent. Thank you so very much for providing us with such great service and we can’t wait to go on our honeymoon!”

If you think Honeypot might be right for you, feel free to register below for a no-obligation account. You can start a draft registry straight away for free – you only pay our one-off fee once you’re ready to ‘go-live’ and send out to guests.

Get started button to create a Honeypot Registry free account

Using Honeypot to tell your story

Last month, we compared Honeypot Registry to wishing wells and it was probably our most popular blog to date. This month, we wanted to elaborate on using a personalised registry to create a connection to your guests. We’ve seen hundreds of registries, and one thing we can say without a doubt – those that tell a story are by far the most popular with guests! So here are some of our tips on how to do just that:

Introduce your registry

Each Honeypot has a ‘details’ section at the top which introduces your registry to guests. This is your opportunity to explain why you’ve opted for Honeypot, and a bit more about yourselves too. For example, a couple who used Honeypot for their Queenstown honeymoon shared:

Thanks for visiting our registry. We are lucky enough to already live together with plenty of things for our home. As you all know, we are huge adrenaline junkies! Gifts are by no means expected but if you would like to give us something, we would love your help to fund some of our adventures in Queenstown. Bungy, here we come!

Tell the story of your honeymoon

If you are planning to use Honeypot for your honeymoon (if not, check out some other ideas here), we recommend sharing all the exciting details with your guests. For example, if you’ve always dreamed of visiting Paris, guests will be thrilled to contribute towards your Eiffel tower tickets. Honeypot co-founder Verity and her fiancé Matt are using their Honeypot to tell the story of each destination on their honeymoon adventure – from New York, to London, Berlin and beyond!

Personalise each item

Since our ‘unlimited’ item became available, many couples have used this option for larger items. Where possible, we always recommend adding a personal touch to help guests feel a connection to the gift. For example, one couple used Honeypot to fund a commissioned piece of art for their new home together. We thought this was an awesome example of an item that has both practical and sentimental value. Most importantly it creates a strong connection as guests will get to admire the painting when they visit!

Use humour

Some of the most successful registries we’ve come across have used humour to allow the couple’s personality to shine through. These registries are very popular with guests as they’re not just a registry, but an entertaining experience! One couple photoshopped each item photo with their faces, which was both hilarious and also reminded their friends and family that the money contributed was going towards real gifts that would be enjoyed & cherished by the couple.

We hope that this has given you some ideas about using Honeypot to tell your story, in order to create a greater connection between yourselves, your registry & your guests. However, we can’t take credit for these ideas as we are inspired everyday by the creative and unique registries made by our very own Honeypotters! If you would be interested in having your registry featured on our blog, please get in touch at support@honeypotregistry.co.nz

5 reasons to use Honeypot rather than a wishing well

In today’s world of couples living together before marriage, a wishing well is becoming an increasingly popular option for modern Kiwi couples. However, we think that there’s an even better option out there for couples wanting to keep their guests happy and still receive a practical gift straight into their bank account. Here are some reasons why you should consider Honeypot Registry if you’re thinking of asking for money:

1. Avoid the awkwardness of asking for cash

While it’s becoming more commonplace to ask for cash as a wedding gift, you will likely have some guests who still feel a bit uncomfortable (think your great aunt Doris!) With Honeypot, you can direct guests to your personalised registry, where they can choose any amount to contribute to their gift of choice, making it feel far more special than just bringing cash. Guests can also choose to keep the amount contributed anonymous – we’ll still let you know the other details so you can thank them afterwards!

2. Make it personal with specific items

Honeypot allows you to create a personalised list of gifts that you really want. You won’t be tied down to any store or travel agent – at the end of the day you’ll still receive the cash straight into your bank account. But your guests will be choosing what that cash goes towards, whether it’s accommodation in a traditional Fijian burre or a hiking trip in the Andes!

Time and time again, we get feedback from couples and guests about how they appreciate the personal touch of contributing to a specific item rather than just giving an envelope of cash. To read on about unique gift ideas in Honeypot, check out this blog.

3. Manage your budget with contributions every fortnight

If you’re planning to use a wishing well for your honeymoon, it can be tricky to budget and pay in advance when you have no idea how much you’ll receive. Especially when you’re trying to pay for your wedding at the same time! With Honeypot, you can check how much has been contributed at any time. Unlike other registries that pay out after your wedding, we also transfer your contributions every fortnight, so you don’t need to pay everything out of pocket.

4. Avoid the hassle of banking cash

When we asked couples about the biggest downside of wishing wells, their answer surprised us. Many mentioned the logistical difficulty of looking after and banking a large amount of cash after the wedding. This is something you don’t want to be worrying about – instead, you should be basking in post-marital bliss!

5. Make it easier for your overseas guests

Honeypotters often feedback to us how useful Honeypot was for their overseas guests. For those who can’t make it to New Zealand but would still like to send a gift, they can easily find your registry and contribute using their overseas credit card. For the guests who can make it, using Honeypot is still far easier than withdrawing and exchanging cash.

For these reasons and more, Honeypot Registry makes the giving experience exceptional. Set up your no-obligation account here and get started on creating your own personalised registry!

Get started button to create a Honeypot Registry free account

Giving the perfect (bridesmaids) gift: Meet Clarence & Co

We love working with other epic wedding vendors, especially when they’ve got a similar philosophy around making the giving experience exceptional. Clarence & Co are all about gifts at the other end of the wedding planning journey – bridesmaids proposal gifts! A gorgeous idea for making your besties feel special, we’ve loved watching their growth into a favourite among many brides-to-be – so we thought we’d chat to Emma, one of the Clarence & Co co-founders, about why bridesmaids gifts are such a special idea.

Robes and boxes

How did Clarence & Co. come to be?

Clarence & Co. began in 2016 in an old villa on Clarence Street. Flatmates and friends, Emma and Janelle discovered they both shared a love of celebrating friendships when Janelle was asked to be a Bridesmaid. Seeing an opportunity, the pair got to work to create unique bridesmaid proposal gifts for Kiwi brides to give their besties.

After a year of planning and research, Clarence & Co. was officially launched in October 2017. Shortly after, Charli (a bride-to-be herself with heaps of bridesmaid experience) joined the team. We each bring different talents and ideas to the table and love working together in the NZ wedding industry.

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What sort of treasures do you sell?

We sell collated gift boxes, individual gifts, digital invitations, and bridesmaid and bridal robes. Clarence & Co. also offers the ability to customise gift boxes – you can select exactly which products you’d like in your gift boxes and we’ll do the rest!

Three things are very important to us when choosing our products:

Beautiful and Quality Goods

There is something so precious about opening a box full of lovely things that look and feel amazing. Everything from the packaging (hello Flint chocolate prettiness) to the smell of Foxxglow perfume oils (the latest addition to the C&C family) has been carefully selected.

Reusable and Practical Gifts

We believe in creating gifts that last. We have sought out items like the Take It Off Makeup Removal Towel (that can be used for up to 1000 washes!), Cheers! Champagne Flute, and quality robes which can be worn on the wedding day and beyond. (Note from the Honeypot team: Take It Off towels are amazing! Seriously magic at removing all your makeup)

Supporting Local Businesses

We love supporting other NZ businesses. Being a start-up ourselves, we really understand the importance of sourcing locally and putting our money into the right places. Even our pine wood boxes are made locally in Auckland!

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Why do you think bridesmaids gifts are such a fabulous idea?

We think it’s so special to recognise your best friends in the context of your wedding. These are the people who have loved and supported you through so much, maybe even before you knew the person you are marrying! Asking your girls to stand by your side on your big day is a big deal and we want to help celebrate this incredible moment. Robes and matching champagne flutes are particularly popular wedding day items; why not turn these into a lovely gift for them to cherish?

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Do you have any top tips for wedding planning from a Clarence & Co. point of view?

Being involved in the wedding industry, and with one of the team planning her wedding, we’ve always got wedding planning tips on the go. Our blog has a bunch of tips on different topics, and we’re always adding more! One of the themes we are seeing come through a lot is people being overwhelmed with wedding planning (there is so much to consider and decide on). We recommend one of the first things you do when you’re engaged is sit down with your partner and make a list of what is most important to you both, as well as those that aren’t. When it gets closer to the wedding and you start stressing about the cake topper, looking back at these lists will help keep things in perspective and making a decision will be easier.

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Anything exciting coming up in Clarence & Co.’s future?

So many things! One of the most exciting is our new and exclusive Clarence & Co. robe collection. The first of our Bridesmaid Robes, the Savannah, is out now! We are also always on the lookout for beautiful, top quality products to add to our boxes (we’ve got a few of these coming soon too). Following us on Facebook or Instagram is a great way to keep with what’s coming and what’s new.

The ladies at Clarence & Co. have been kind enough to offer our Honeypotters a special discount – 15% off orders over $150! Just head over to their website and use the code HONEY at the checkout.

Download your free ‘keep track of everything’ template!

When you’re doing a DIY wedding, whether everything is handmade or you just need to organise more than you would at an all-in-one venue, keeping track of all the little things can be tricky. One of the things we find most helpful is keeping everything on one mega list – a ‘buy, borrow, make, own, hire’ bible.

So how do you use it? Simple – think of all the items you’ll need for your wedding (cutlery, crockery, decorations, tables, chairs, lights etc.)

Now add them to the correct column – what do you already own? What does your venue have? Can you borrow elements from family and friends, or will you need to hire? And what are those special projects you’ll need to DIY? Add those to the ‘to make’ column, but make sure you’ve got the raw ingredients on the ‘to buy’ column. As you buy or make, move them over to the ‘already own’ column.

Keen to start your own one? Download our free template here:

Get your wedding budget template now

 

Groom 101: How to be an involved groom

Most of our blogs come from the bride’s perspective, so we thought we’d let a guy loose on one for once. Here, Honeypot co-founder Shane points out exactly why (and how) you need to be an involved groom.

Wedding. Planning.

Your fiancée is excited for it, her girlfriends are excited for it, the mums are excited for it and you’re… (kind of) fine with it… I guess…

Oh it’ll definitely be a great exciting day! But planning for it? Hmm… wouldn’t have a clue… Best leave it to the girls to sort out…

That’s probably an over simplified, stereotyped summary of the male perspective, but weddings aren’t really “our thing” right?

As a groom-to-be, whether these thoughts go through your head in some iteration or another, one thing is absolutely certain – you should be involved in planning your wedding!

Yours, not just hers

It’s not just hers! Your wedding celebrates and reflects both you and your fiancée. Your friends and family want to be a part of your relationship so make sure that you have an input in how the day will go.

Express your ideas for things that you want to include in the wedding even if you end up having to cull them for budget or logistical reasons. Make an effort to have the wedding reflect your tastes and be passionate about them. The more things that you’re excited to have as part of the wedding, the more involved you’ll want to be in making that a reality.

Choices! Choices!

As awesome as your fiancée is, she probably doesn’t know exactly how she wants everything to be. Your genuine input goes a long way to working through those tedious decision making times.

Maybe you don’t care what the centre pieces will be, but she’s narrowed the options down to white or red flowers – which one do you like the best? Even if your fiancée vetos your choice, your act of consideration will have helped her make the final choice. And you didn’t really mind either way right?

Chances are her wedding support group will largely be made of other females so a genuinely interested male’s opinion could bring a new perspective to things (plus, despite common belief, not all women actually want to have to make all the decisions all the time).

Many hands make light work

Having to vet and book multiple suppliers, coordinate the timings of specific items plus managing your daily lives on top of all of it all – weddings are a logistical exercise and a half! Even if your fiancée has got everything under control, she’s probably still super stressed out about it. Take the initiative and share the work load.

Organising anything groom-side specific should already be on your list. But other things like booking the weddings cars or the music don’t necessarily have to be coordinated with other items so can easily be picked up and organised separately.

Think about skills you’re good at. If you’re good with handling money, be in charge of putting aside funds and making sure the deposits are paid on time. If you’re a great negotiator, be the one to arrange the pricier parts of the wedding. If you love problem solving, get stuck in with decisions where there are lots of different variables to consider – the guest list and the seating plan will be right up your alley. Or perhaps the honeymoon could be your domain – plan an amazing honeymoon, and then get help getting there through a personalised Honeypot registry!

Need some help knowing what to help with?

Download Honeypot's free wedding checklist

The more input you have the more you’ll connect with the wedding planning and the easier it’ll be to take responsibility and help make it happen. Too far out the other side though… Groomzillas are a thing too!

 

 

 

Why I love winter honeymoons (and why you will too)

If you’re in the same boat as over 40% of Kiwi couples, you’ll be planning to get married in the New Zealand summer. You want that perfect combination of nice weather, a great sunset and a long day to fit in all the celebration. But on the flipside, if you’re planning to honeymoon in the northern hemisphere, winter is coming baby!

For many people a traditional honeymoon means lying on the beach, sipping cocktails and soaking up the rays. However, a winter honeymoon can be every bit as romantic (and if you’re like me, involve less sunburn!) For our honeymoon, we combined the two – a winter ski holiday in Japan followed by a short trip to Bali on the way home. Here are some of the reasons I love winter honeymoons:

Experience a real white Christmas

Call me cheesy but I don’t think there is anything more romantic than exploring a winter Christmas market, gluhwein in hand, while the snow falls around you! If you’re getting married in November or December, a Christmas trip to Europe could be the perfect honeymoon. Think snow-capped mountains, lights in the trees and castles on craggy hills.

Ski or snowboard your heart out

Whether you’re looking for the vast slopes of Canada, exciting après scene in Europe or cultural immersion in Japan, there are plenty of options for a ski honeymoon. And after you’ve finished carving up the mountain, you can chill out by the fire with a hot chocolate – who says you need a beach to relax?

Get adventurous

I get it – snow sports aren’t everyone’s thing. But there are so many other things to do on a winter holiday. How about a dogsled ride in Norway, followed by a viewing of the famous northern lights? A snowmobile ride on the Swiss Alps? Or ice-skating in central park? Eat your heart out Tonya Harding!

Enjoy a big city on a small budget

So many of the world’s great cities are equally fascinating in winter time – like London, Paris or New York. In these popular destinations, accommodation can be so expensive during summer. The money you save on accommodation could be put towards seeing a play at the Globe, touring the Louvre or tickets to a Broadway show!

If you’re reading this and thinking a winter honeymoon sounds great but we won’t have the budget after our wedding, a honeymoon registry through Honeypot can help you out! Rather than gifting traditional household items, your guests have the option to contribute to the honeymoon of your dreams. All the ideas above have been used by real Honeypotters who have had their winter honeymoons funded by friends and family. Click here to sign up today!

The lowdown on wedding celebrants

Okay, so you’ve picked a date and booked a venue, maybe even booked a photographer! But have you got the most important person (other than you two!) booked in? Your celebrant, besides your marriage licence, is the other legal aspect that you have to have for the two of you to get hitched.

So what do you need to know before booking a celebrant? We answer your top questions below.

What does a celebrant actually do?

First up, the legal stuff – in order for you to be married in the eyes of the law, you have to be married by a qualified and registered celebrant and say “I [name] take you [partner’s name], to be my legal [wife/husband/partner]” or something similar in front of them. They also have to confirm that you are who is named on the marriage licence, and send off a copy of the licence to Births, Deaths, and Marriages following the ceremony (check out our blog post about the legal aspects of a ceremony if you want to know more!)

However, the biggest part of their job is probably the part that can change the most – planning, writing, and performing the ceremony. Most celebrants will normally meet with you a couple of times before the wedding to plan this out, and make sure that the ceremony is exactly the way you want it. A good one will likely give you some ideas to look through to give you inspiration, or if you don’t like any that they’ve already got, will write a new ceremony for you.

How do I find a wedding celebrant?

There are heaps of ways to find a wedding celebrant – the Celebrants Association is a good place to find people, but it can be a little hard to know who to choose. So try talking to people first – ask your friends who have already been married, look at whether you know any celebrants personally, or search for recommendations in wedding groups on Facebook.

How do I pick a celebrant?

Most celebrants are happy to meet with you when you’re considering who to choose – it’s all about finding one who you get along with, who you feel will reflect who you are as a couple, and who is either happy to do the ceremony just the way you’d like it or provide guidance if you don’t know where to start! Try asking questions about what they do in the lead-up to the day, how they run the ceremony on the day, what they do other than being a celebrant and generally get to know them. You’ll normally find one that just ‘fits’ – much like when you found your other half!

What does a wedding celebrant cost?

It varies – but in NZ you can expect to pay anywhere from $350 to $600, with many sitting around $450-$550. Usually that will cover local travel but they may add extra on if you’re getting married a little further afield. Keep in mind that they do spend a lot of time working on your ceremony both with you and by themselves before the day, as well as obviously spending several hours getting ready, travelling to and from the wedding, and performing the ceremony itself – so it’s not just about showing up on the day!

A wedding celebrant is one part of the wedding you definitely can’t do without – and a good one can make your day absolutely amazing! So do your research, meet a few, and pick ‘the one’. Happy marrying!

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